Prime Minister Sephen Harper told President Bush his natin will end its militay mission in Afghanistan unless another NATO country agrees to dispatch more troops to assist in the fighting. Harper’s Conservative govewrnment is under pressure to withdraw Canada’s 2,500 man contingent from Kandahar province after the deaths of 78 of its soldiers. The mssion is set to expire by 2009 without an extension granted by the Canadian Parliament. The refusal of European nations to send more troops to the southern front lines has created a rift within NATO. Troops from Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and the U.S. have borne the brunt of action with some assistance from Denmark, Romania, estonian and the non-NATO Australia.
Harper spokesperson, Sandra Buckler said: “He underscored that, unless Canada was able to meet the conditions specificed by the panel of additional combat troops and equipment from NATO allies, Canada’s mission in Afghanistan will not be extended.” Bush promised to send an additional 3,200 Marines to Afghanistan but Harper wants Europe to fully participate in the struggle.
A major factor in the rise of European discontent with Afghanistan stems from lack of a coordinated long-range goal. The NATO, American and Afghan forces have used the same tactics for six years and the situation grows worse. Suggestions like paying Afghan farmers for their poppy crop to end their support for the Taliban are rejected by Bush or suggestions to bring the Taliban into the government are discounted. These may not be the best solutions but the United States and NATO must begin to think in new terms or the same old results will occur.